Press Release

Family hopes for international intervention as Polish man has fluids withdrawn

15 January 2021         Issued by: Christian Legal Centre

Yesterday (14 January) University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust withdrew life-sustaining nutrition and fluids from the middle-aged disabled Polish man known as ‘RS’, despite the objections of his mother and wider family. RS’s identity may not be revealed under the orders of the Court of Protection.

Nutrition and fluids were withdrawn following the refusal of the family’s legal appeal, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, by the Court of Appeal (Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson) on Monday and by the European Court of Human Rights (Judge Grozev) on Wednesday.

Nutrition and fluids were withdrawn from RS and then reinstated on three previous occasions over the past month, as the family’s legal battle with the hospital took different turns. Most recently, RS was left without hydration from 7 to 11 January and was on the brink of death from dehydration, when a late night emergency application on behalf of the family procured an order of Lord Justice Singh to re-start hydration pending an appeal.

The family’s hope now is for a strong intervention from the Polish government and the wider international community.

The Polish government has offered to take RS to Poland by air ambulance, and to pay for his future treatment in a state hospital. However, the Court of Protection (Mr Justice Cohen) “unhesitatingly” rejected that offer on 31 December 2020.

The family has taken videos of RS in hospital. Two independent neurological experts have stated the videos show RS is making a good recovery, and is no longer in a coma or in a vegetative state. Both neurologists believe that RS has potential for a much better recovery in the future than the hospital and the courts have stated. However, the courts have rejected the evidence, and prohibited any neurological assessments in the future, as well as any publication of the videos.

The hospital has told the family that “life-sustaining” nutrition and hydration have been withdrawn, and some fluids may be provided in the coming days as part of RS’s palliative case. Depending on that, RS is expected to die either of dehydration or of starvation, which may take from a few days to a few weeks.

RS’s mother, who cannot be identified under the court’s order, says: “This is euthanasia by a back door. I am devastated that the English authorities are killing my son in this inhumane and unfair way. I want to take my son back to Poland and care for him. What harm can it do to anyone? 

“I feel very helpless. I am grateful for what the Polish government has done so far to save my son, and I implore them to redouble their efforts. My hope now is for a strong intervention by the Polish government and the international community. The British authorities’ treatment of my son is unacceptable in a civilised world.” 

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